Natural Ways to Get Rid of the Smell of Mothballs

Anyone who has ever stepped into a home with any amount of mothballs knows the characteristic odor, and it’s not a pleasant smell. No wonder moths stay away from areas laden with mothballs. They stink! The smell of mothballs is far worse than any other store-bought products to prevent moth infestations, but it is possible to get rid of the smell once and for all.

If you have a cedar chest, dresser drawers, other wood furniture, or closets that smell like mothballs, give the following ideas a try. You have nothing to lose but the strong odor of mothballs. Your clothes and other stored items won’t continue to smell bad because of smelly furniture and storage areas, and you’ll be able to use them once again without smelling like stinky mothballs.

Light Sanding

The insides of cedar chests, drawers, and cabinets can be lightly sanded with fine-grit sandpaper with the grain to get rid of the odor of mothballs. Not only will lightly sanding cedar help get rid of the bad smell, but it will also revitalize the natural pleasant aroma of cedar. After lightly sanding, use one or more of the following ways to get rid of the remaining smell of mothballs, if necessary.


Freshly ground coffee works very well to get rid of all types of odors. Place small shallow bowls of dry ground coffee in drawers, cabinets, and closets, and allow them to remain closed for at least 3 days. Truck drivers use ground coffee to get rid of dirty oily odors inside their semi cabs, and if coffee can get rid of those difficult odors, it can greatly reduce or completely get rid of the smell of mothballs.


One of the best natural odor absorbers is charcoal briquettes. Fill shallow pans or bowls with the same charcoal briquettes used for grilling, and allow them to remain enclosed in a cedar chest, cabinets, closets, and drawers. They’ll naturally absorb and get rid of the odor, and the longer they remain in wood cabinets, closets, and drawers, the better.


Ordinary newspaper is also a natural odor absorber, and it can help get rid of the smell of mothballs in a cedar chest, wood cabinets, and drawers. Wad up several sheets of newsprint, and fill areas that smell like mothballs. Allow the paper to work to get rid of the smell of mothballs for several days before removing.

Aromatic Cedar

Besides lightly sanding the inside of a cedar chest, add aromatic cedar blocks, balls, or chips to revitalize the scent. Once natural products have been used to get rid of the smell of mothballs, buy natural aromatic cedar to bring back the smell that should be in a cedar chest. Aromatic cedar can also be placed in closets, drawers, and cabinets, and it’s a far better smell than the nauseating odor of mothballs, and it will also help keep destructive moths away.

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